Sitting is the new enemy




Apparently siting is the new smoking,

in as much as it's really rather bad for

your health. As reported by Diabetes

Health based on a news agency report

on research at an Israeli university, it may

be that one of the last things we want to

hear where most of us work seated at a

desk or table, is that the way we work

is probably contributing to the current

epidemic obesity.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University's

Department of Biomedical Engineering

think that their insight into fat cell

mechanics may open the door for

therapies designed to reduce body

fat. When fat cells are subjected to

sustained pressure, they develop more

fat. So-called 'cellular expansion,' which

basically centres on your backside, most

often comes from sitting for long periods

of time. The resulting chronic pressure

leads to an increase in lipid droplets and

molecules that carry fats. The fat cells

expand by as much as 50%, becoming

stiffer and crowding out and deforming

nearby cells. In many cases, the increase

in fat cell size and form can set a person

on the road to obesity. The agency report

is available here.

In the UK a campaign is currently

running (see newspaper advert on the

right) alerting people to the dangers of

sitting around too much and encouraging

them to do more exercise. Research has

shown that even if you spend an hour

every night in the gym, prolonged periods

of inactivity are still bad for your health.

The way the body deals with sugars

and fats when sitting down has been

linked to increased risk of diabetes and

heart disease, and with some people

now sitting for 12 hours a day, whether

at work, watching TV or in a car, we are

the most sedentary humans in history

and we are literally sitting on a time bomb

(though with the current obesity statistics,

it's already gone off).

If you sit for more than 23 hours per

week you are 64% more likely to die of

heart disease. However, the constant

muscle activity of standing allows

the body to keep blood sugar levels

stable, which is proven to help maintain

concentration and focus. Winston

Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin

Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci were all

famous advocates of standing desks.*

One interesting take on this which

address exactly how much many of us

now sit at desks all day is the Varidesk,

which is adjustable in height and lets you

sit or stand as you wish so you can vary

your working style.

*Sources: Ergonomics, The BBC,

The Economist


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